42:11 The Creator of the heavens and the earth, He made for you from yourselves pairs and from your cattle pairs, thereby multiplying you. Nothing is as His likeness, and He is the Hearing, the Seeing.
The Creator of the seven heavens and the seven earths is God, and in creation, He is one and unique. He gives being to nonbeings, from what was not He brings forth what is, and He is not similar to any being. His power has no slackening, His strength no shortcoming, and His measure is far from perception. His act has no instrument, His artisanry no cause, His doing no contrivance. He created the tremendous Throne and made it the crown on the head of the being’s realm. He created the tiny dust mote and concealed it from the eyes. In terms of power, the Throne is like a dust mote, and in terms of wisdom, the dust mote is like a Throne. If you look at the world of power, the Throne will appear to you like a dust mote, and if you look at the world of wisdom, the dust mote will come to you as a Throne.
Judging on the basis of the world of unneediness and the exalted divine majesty, in reality, there is no need for the existence of creatures, so their realm of appearing to be an intrusion. Nonetheless, He Himself says, “‘We created you so you would profit from Us, not so that We would profit from you.’ When I created you, I did not create you to seek profit from you or to join My exalted majesticness with your existence.”
“Rather, I created you so that you would seek profit from Me and you would take your own share from My bounty.” The attribute of bounty stood up seeking the obedient, the attribute of severity stood up seeking the disobedient, and the attribute of majesty and beauty stood up seeking the passionate. He had a severity and a gentleness to perfection, a never-ending majesty, and beauty. He wanted to scatter these treasures. He placed the throne of gentleness on the head of one person in the garden of bounty, He put the burning brand of severity on another’s liver in the prison of justice, He melted one in the fire of majesty, and He caressed another in the light of beauty.
He lit up the candle of the invitation: “And God invites to the Abode of Peace” [10:25]. Thousands of thousands of the helpless and grief-stricken threw themselves on the candle and burned, but nothing whatsoever was decreased from the candle or added to it.
I sorrow for Him who does not sorrow for me.
I obey the command of Him who took my heart.
I buy His iniquity and disloyalty with a hundred spirits—
He will not buy my love and loyalty for a barleycorn.
Nothing is as His likeness, and He is the Hearing, the Seeing. God is a Lord similar to whom there is nothing and no one. He has no peer, none with the same attributes, and no spouse. In attributes and descriptions, in power and knowledge, in acceptance and rejection, in marks and proofs, there is no one like Him. If this is not someone’s belief, he is not with Him in the religion. This verse corrects the deviation of two groups: the group that says there are no attributes, and the group that says there is a resemblance. Not having attributes is nonbeing, but God is being. Resemblance comes from the partnership, but God is pure of partners and partnership. Those who allow resemblance are outside the precinct of the submission, and those who negate attributes are heretics.
God says, “Nothing is as His likeness.” He does not say, “Nothing is there,” for attributes are there. No attributes, however, are like His attributes. He is hearing, but none is hearing like Him. He is seeing, but none is seeing like Him. This is just like what He says in another place: “Is He who creates like him who does not create?” [16:17]. God has attributes worthy of Him, and the creatures are far from that. Created things have attributes worthy of them, and the Creator is pure of that. The created thing is what exists because God gave it existence, and God exists because He abides in His own beginninglessness, being, and subsistence. The created thing lives through its soul and nourishment, in a measure and a time. God is alive through His own life, His own subsistence, His own firstness and lastness, without when, how many, and how. The created thing is an artisan through contrivance, tools, striving, and measure. God is Artisan through power and wisdom, without tool, contrivance, or cause—whatever He wants, as He wants, when He wants.
42:19 God is gentle to His servants.
God is gentle to His servants, He is benevolent and lovingly kind toward them. It was His gentleness that gave you the success to worship Him and the success to ask from Him. He made your heart the quarry of light so that you love without seeing and you recognize without perceiving. It is His gentleness that asks temporary acts of obedience from you and gives everlasting rewards as a gift unbroken [11:108]. It is His gentleness that gives blessings in His measure and asks for gratitude from the servants in their measure: Be wary of God as far as you are able [64:16]. It is His gentleness that gives the servants the success to serve and then puts laudation and praise on top of that: The repenters, the worshipers, and so on [9:112]. It is His gentleness that calls you ignorant at the time of sin so as to pardon you: Whosoever of you does an ugly deed in ignorance [6:54]. At the time of bearing witness, He calls you knowing so that He may accept your testimony: except those who have borne witness to the truth while they are knowing [43:86]. At the time of shortcoming, He calls you weak to efface your shortcoming: Man was created weak [4:28].
In burning and need that dervish said in the seclusion of secret whispering, “O God, You called me weak. What comes from the weak other than error? You called me ignorant. What comes from the ignorant other than disloyalty? You are a generous and gentle Lord. What is fitting for someone generous and gentle other than generosity, loyalty, and bestowing gifts?” What is fitting for the servants once they recognize His gentleness and benevolence toward them is to pull back their skirts from the two worlds, roll up the carpet of folly, bind the belt of servanthood around their waists, cling to the threshold of service and veneration, sew up their eyes from gazing at others, burn the haystack of wanting from people, and, with a heart free of dust and a breast free of burdens, sit waiting for the gentle favors and kindly acts of God, until the Real takes care of their business with His own gentleness and caresses their hearts in the cradle of the Covenant.
God is gentle to His servants. God has both gentleness and severity. His gentleness built the Kaaba and mosques, His severity built churches and idol temples. He sent out success-giving to be the vanguard of the army of gentleness, and He stirred up deprivation to be the advance guard of the army of justice. The poor, hapless Adamite, who passes by gentleness and love. He does not know if the vanguard of the army of gentleness will embrace him in joy, or the advance guard of the army of justice will take him off his feet, weeping and lowly. O, dervish! May you never have borrowed clothing without knowing it! May your life not pass by with hidden deception. Alas for the hidden fetters! Alack for everlasting regret! How many a prayerful old man has spent his life in the outer appearance of Islam! He made the night a strainer for the warm water of his eyes, and by day he had the rosary of glorification in hand, his hopes tied to his final end. Finally, when the thread of his life was thinning and the day of his hopes darkening, there will appear to them from God that with which they had never reckoned [39:47].
There was a muezzin who for several years gave the call to prayer. One day he went up on the minaret and his gaze fell on a Christian woman. He was caught up with her. When he came down from the minaret, as much as he struggled with himself, he could not hold himself back. He went to the door of the woman’s house and told her the story. The woman said, “If you speak the truth in your claim and your love is truthful, the stipulation is conformity. You must bind your waist with the Christian sash.” That unfortunate man bound the sash in coveting that woman.
The poor man began to drink wine. When he became drunk, he tried for the woman. The woman fled and went into the house. That miserable fellow went up on the roof so as to throw himself into the house by trickery. The beginningless deprivation charged forth and he fell from the roof, perishing after having turned away from his religion. For many years he had been a muezzin and had observed the laws of Islam, and in the end, he died a Christian and did not reach the goal.