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A dervish was asked, “What is the evidence for God’s being?”

He replied, “Morning takes away the need for a lamp.” When the sun rises, a lamp is not required. The whole cosmos is the evidence, it needs someone to look. The whole cosmos is fragrant herbs, it needs someone to smell. The whole cosmos is the antidote, it needs someone bitten by a snake. The whole cosmos is the signs and banners of His power, the marks, and denotations of His wisdom, the proof of His unity and solitariness.

24:1 A Surah that We have sent down and made obligatorily; and We sent down in it clear signs that perhaps you will remember.

If one day you see the sun of recognition shining from the sphere of magnificence, and if the eyes of your aspiration see the signs and banners of the exalted majesticness, then this world, which had taken you as its prey, will be made into a shoe and nailed to the hoof of your aspiration’s steed. The afterworld, which had been your shackle, will be made into a ring for the ears of your presence’s servants. Then you will be brought, like a king, into the special court of majesty, in a seat of truthfulness, at an Omnipotent King [54:55].

24:2 The fornicatress and the fornicator—flog each of them a hundred lashes, and let no clemency toward them seize you in God’s religion if you have faith in God and the Last Day. And let a group of the faithful witness their chastisement.

The world’s folk are three groups: the common people, the elect of the Presence, and the elect of the elect. If the common people fornicate, their penalty, in the tongue of the Shariah, is whipping or stoning. Muṣṭafā said, “Take this from me! Take this from me! God has appointed for them a path: for virgins, one hundred stripes, and banishment; for those formerly married, one hundred stripes and stoning.” He also said, “Receive kindly the stumbles of those with positions except in the case of penalties.”

The fornication of the elect is the gazing of the eyes. Muṣṭafā said, “The fornication of the eyes is the gaze.” Their penalty is to cast down the eyesight and to turn the eyes away from the soul’s pleasures and appetites, even if they are licit. The Prophet said, “Cast down your eyes, guard your private parts, and hold back your hands.”

The fornication of the elect is the heart’s thoughts about anything less than the Real. If they give something else access to their secret core, this is counted in the Tariqah as fornication. Their penalty is disentanglement from attachments and withdrawal from people. God says, “Say ‘God,’ then leave them” [6:91].

Let no clemency toward them seize you in God’s religion if you have faith in God. One of them said this means, “If you are among the folk of affection and love for Me, oppose those who oppose My command and do what I have prohibited. No one is a lover who has patience with opposition to his beloved.”

Junayd said, “Tenderness toward those in opposition is like turning away from those who conform.” In other words, “Being tender to those who oppose at the moment of opposition is just like turning away from those who conform at the moment of their conformity.”

Having mercy in accordance with the Shariah is beautiful and praiseworthy. “The All-Merciful has mercy on those who are merciful.” But, it is not a stipulation to have mercy as a requisite of nature and habit at the moment of opposition, and it is not allowable to be remiss in enacting the penalties. God says, “Let no clemency toward them seize you in God’s religion.” What is more marvelous is that He commands us to have no mercy, even though He Himself has mercy, for He preserves the person in faith and does not cut off from him because of his disloyalty and acts of disobedience. He offers repentance and pardon to him and promises forgiveness: “He invites you so that He may forgive you some of your sins” [14:10]. When He is like this toward the disobedient sinner, what can I say about what He is like toward the obedient observer of the command?

“O You who plant the sorrow of regret in the hearts of those acquainted with You, O You who throw burning into the hearts of those who repent, O You who accept the sinners and acknowledgers! No one came back whom You did not bring back, no one found the road until You took his hand. Take my hand, for there is no hand-taker but You; come to my help, for there is no refuge but You, no one to answer my asking but You, no remedy for my pain but You, no ease from my grief but You.”

And let a group of the faithful witness their chastisement. He says that a group of the faithful should be present where they may witness the enactment of the penalties of the Shariah in keeping with God’s command. The state of that group will not be outside of two: Either no sin like that has ever appeared from them, God has protected them from that. Or no, it has appeared from them, but God has guarded them with His concealment and has not disgraced them before witnesses. In both cases, they should consider this a tremendous blessing on themselves from God and they should add to their gratitude and thankfulness. With the tongue of pleading they should say, “O God, we are impure and without excuse and we are deluded by the concealment of Your forbearance! O Lord, do not look at the abasement of our defects! Look rather from the exaltedness of Your lack of defects at our inability, look from Your forbearance at our poverty, look from Your loving kindness at the bonds of our servanthood and incapacity! By Your good Godhood and bounty, put aside what is worthy of us for what is worthy of You, our disloyalty for Your loyalty, and what belongs to us for what belongs to You!”

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