14:7 When your Lord proclaimed, “If you give thanks, I will surely increase you.”
In other words: “If you give thanks for the submission, I will increase you in faith. If you give thanks for the faith, I will increase you in beautiful doing. If you give thanks for beautiful doing, I will increase you in recognition. If you give thanks for recognition, I will increase you in a union. If you give thanks for union, I will increase you in contemplation. If you give thanks for the gifts that I bestow upon you, I will increase you in the encounter I have promised you.”
It has been narrated that David said, “My Lord, how should I give thanks to You, for my giving thanks is a renewal of Your favor toward me.” He said, “O David, what you said now is giving thanks to Me.”
14:23 Those who have faith and do wholesome deeds were given entry into the Garden…Their greeting therein is “Peace!”
The meaning is that tomorrow the faithful and the friends will be brought into paradise, the house of victory, subsistent bliss, and everlasting kingship. The outward meaning of the word were given entry is that this decree was issued on the first day at the Beginningless Covenant and that the faithful were brought into paradise on the day when the decree was issued. It is not a new want that He puts into effect; it is a beginningless deed that He makes appear. He does not caress them today, for He caressed them in the Beginningless and finished the work.
The worshipper is always looking toward the Endless, fearing what will be done to him tomorrow. The recognizer is always looking toward the Beginningless, burning because of what may have been done to him then. He who looks toward the Endless sees only bowing and prostrating. He who looks toward the Beginningless sees only ecstasy and finding; absent from seeing himself, he sees neither self nor anything from himself. He sees only the Real and knows only the Real. He who looks at the Endless accepts what he is given and is content with it. He who looks at the Beginningless accepts nothing and is not content with any robe of honor. If he were adorned with every robe of honor in the two realms of being, he would be more naked with every robe. If the whole realm of being were made into a table placed before his heart, he would find no savor in the feast.
Both realms of being were made a morsel and placed in Abū Yazīd’s maw full of pain, but he gave no mark of surfeit. He kept on shouting out, “I am a captive of face-to-face vision, how can I be content with reports?! I am seeking hard cash, how can hope suffice me?!” And those who have faith and do wholesome deeds were given entry into the Garden. They will be settled down tomorrow in the paradises. There is not just one paradise, for there are eight, and not just eight degrees but one hundred. Muṣṭafā said, “Surely there are one hundred degrees in the Garden, made ready by God for the struggler in His path.”
A man is wanted who struggles in God’s road with severity toward his own soul, patience with the devil, and a sword against the enemy. Then he can pass through these degrees and reach Firdaws, for “it is the center of the Garden, the highest Garden, and above it is the Throne of the All-Merciful.” But he should not be content with that until the generosity of felicitation increases, for “Their greeting therein is ‘Peace!’” One group will be greeted by the angels [malak], and another group will be greeted by the King [malik]. The greeting of the angels will be for the folk of obedience and service. He says, “And the angels will enter unto them from every gate: ‘Peace be upon you!’” [13:23]. The greeting of the King will be for the folk of limpidness and proximity. He says, “Peace—a word from an ever-merciful Lord” [36:58].
The meaning of peace is freedom and deliverance. He is saying, “You have been freed from incineration, you have been released from separation. Here there is no rebuke, no veil. Come, for it is the time of listening, and seeing.”
The Pir of the Tariqah said, “O chevalier! Do not lament so much, for little remains before what has been reported becomes a face-to-face vision. The sun of union will shine from the rising place of finding, all hopes will become hard cash, the increase will become boundless, the story of water and clay will be concealed, the beginningless Friend will appear face-to-face, and the eyes, heart, and spirit, all three, will gaze upon Him.”
What harm if you suffer for a hundred years
so long as you see the Friend in vision someday?