20:124 And whosoever turns away from My remembrance, he shall have a life of narrowness, and on the Day of Resurrection, We shall muster him blind.
Concerning this verse, Jaʿfar Ṣādiq said, “Had they recognized Me, they would not have turned away from Me. When someone turns away from Me, I will restore him to turning toward the kinds and colors appropriate for him.”
Whoever recognizes Him remembers Him in every state and turns away from remembering everything except Him. Whoever knows Him will always be remembering Him and persevere in performing the obligatory and supererogatory acts, putting aside his own steps and seeking everything rightfully due to Him. Whenever someone turns aside from remembering the Real for one instant in his life and turns to remember the creatures, the veiled virgin of recognition will conceal her face from him and he will never have a portion of her beauty. This is the case of someone who turns away from His remembrance for one instant in his whole life. How about someone who does not turn toward the remembrance of the Real for one instant in his whole life?
The paragon of the world, the center point of the circle of newly arrived things, was addressed by the Compeller of the engendered beings, “O master! It does not please Me that in the two worlds you should rely on any but Me, that on your tongue should be the remembrance of any but Me, that in your heart should be love for any but Me. I will bring everyone out against you and make them all your antagonists so that you will remember none but Me in the two worlds.” The first He brought out against him was his family, tribe, and relatives so that, when he saw disloyalty from his near ones, he would not place his heart in his far ones. The Real wanted to turn his heart away from the creatures and unbind his secret core from the whole world and join it with Himself, “for conjunction with the Real is in the measure of disjunction from the creatures.”
Wāsiṭī said, “Whoever looks at Him does not look at himself. Whoever remembers Him forgets to remember himself.” Remembrance of self and remembrance of creatures are the seeds of sorrow. Remembrance is a remembrance of the Real—the rest is nothing but loss. If He had not remembered you in the Beginningless, how would you have the gall to remember Him? If this lofty signet had not come forth from the Presence of Exaltation—“So remember Me; I will remember you” [2:152]—how would you have dared to dream of His remembrance or to pass His name through your mind?
There were people in the deserts of bewilderment and the darknesses of reflective thought. The lordly gentleness and divine assistance traveled into the world of dust and turned the orphan of Abū Ṭālib into the unique pearl of every seeker. When that master of the two realms of coming, he spread the tablecloth and called out an invitation.
The chieftains of the Quraysh like Abū Jahl and Abū Lahab did not respond. They said that chieftains and paragons disdain to be present at the beck and call of beggars. That invitation of the paragon of the two realms of being traveled around the regions of the world looking for someone burnt who would respond. Bilāl Ḥabashī heard the paragon’s invitation and set out on the road. Ṣuhayb heard it in Byzantium—head spinning, he hurried off. Salmān set off from Persia like one of the passionate. When they arrived, they sat down at the tablecloth. Good fortune clapped its hands, and the sun of felicity reached perfection in the heaven of desire.
The stalwarts and the proud looked at them and saw their own ill fortune next to their good fortune. They became envious and wanted to chase them away from the tablecloth. They said, “O Muḥammad, drive them away so that we may be neighborly with you. It is beneath our dignity to sit with beggars.” The paragon had such an eager desire for their submission that he wanted to do that. This address came from the Exalted Presence: “Do not set out to torment the hearts of the burnt, for it is not the habit of the generous to drive away beggars from the tablecloth. And drive not away those who supplicate their Lord [6:52]. O Muḥammad, do not drive these poor men away, for their life lies in remembering Me. And do not obey him whose heart We have made heedless of Our remembrance [18:28]. Do not obey those chieftains, for their hearts are empty of remembering Me.”
The attribute of the poor was this: who remember God, standing and sitting [3:191]. Their habit was this: who call upon their Lord morning and evening [18:28]. Their conduct was this: preferring others over themselves [59:9]. Their outcome was this: He loves them, and they love Him [5:54]. But the attribute of the chieftains of the Quraysh was this: who wage war against God and His Messenger, striving for corruption in the earth [5:33]. Their aspiration was this: to confine thee, or kill thee, or expel thee [8:30]. Their habit was this: whosoever turns away from My remembrance. This is why on the Day of Resurrection We shall muster him blind.